Gus, Meara, Rosie and I had our Skype Christmas on Friday the 21st. I had good intentions to post the pictures immediately but then I realized that I had 70 of them. I treasure every one and I have looked at them many times throughout this Christmas week, so to choose a few from so many is hard. Here are some favorites.
After Skyping Gus, Meara & Rosie went to the vineyard to spend Christmas week with Grandma Mary Ann and Grandpa Mike. Meara's brother and his family were also visiting which meant there were 3 girls 3 and under for Christmas -- it must have been amazing fun. I am hoping for more pictures but here are a few.
Rosie and Gus have lunch at her new Rosie-sized table.
Rosie and Gus open the Putnam's Basket looking for treats.
It has been an exhausting week for Rosie. She fell asleep on her Dad while taking a walk at the vineyard.
These are the last slides for 1965. All were taken on Christmas Eve and Day in the Bartlett Lane house.
Brother Fred, his then girlfriend Kathy and me. Christmas Eve 1965.
It is by coincidence, not design, that I am posting Christmas pictures today. I have some time and I thought it would be a good idea to post some more of the slides from Reel 6. Finding that the next slides in the reel were of Christmas came as a rather bittersweet surprise. I'm sure the first 5 reels of slides also have Christmas photos -- these then are the last I have for a Clas family Christmas. My Mom loved Christmas. She loved singing and she loved Christmas carols. Though I didn't share Mom's talent I did love singing with her while we decorated the house and baked and made fudge. When Gus was little he and I played the same Christmas music and we sang while we decorated the house just like I did with my Mom. These are definitely memories I cherish and seeing these photos transports me back to both my time with Mom and my time with Gus. Bittersweet.
I must admit to some mixed memories when it comes to the tree itself. One of these days I will go back through the slides and find all of the pictures of Christmas trees past. I'm fairly sure they will all be identical. Dad commandeered all control of the tree. Here's how it went. We all went out to get a tree though only one of us could actually select the tree. The tree was always perfect both in shape and fullness. It was however always too tall. Which meant that on the coldest pre-Christmas day of the year Dad had to cut some of the trunk off; with a precision that would both amaze and torture us, measurements were taken (including height of the tree stand and the star which had to fall exactly three-quarters of an inch below the ceiling). Then once in the house and in the stand we all had to position ourselves at various places in the living room, dining room and on the staircase to watch and comment as Dad slowly spun the tree to insure that the best side was showing at each possible angle. And then it was time for the lights. In those days the lights were the large screw-in colored bulbs. Dad made sure that the bulbs were of equal distance from one another. Again we were sent to opposing corners of the room to insure perfect color distribution. If there were 2 blues side-by-side the search began for a place on the tree that could spare a yellow or red light while incorporating the offending blue bulb into a new, though still acceptable color pattern. At this point Dad's work was done. He would grab a beer and watch a game while those of us who had not had the foresight to escape got to do 'the fun part'; (as the youngest there came a time when this fun fell on me and me alone). Hanging the balls on the tree was rather fun -- for whatever reason we always seemed to get that right. But tinsel placement was another story. It had to be impossibly perfect. Each branch had to have the same amount of tinsel. Each branch contained no more than one bunch of tinsel. Tinsel had to be placed on the outer most tip of the branch and had to be placed so that it would fall perfectly straight down so as not to clump onto a lower branch. Each side of each bunch of tinsel on each branch had to be of equal length. When done we would summon Dad back up for inspection. It was then his turn to pace the room insuring that all of the tinsel had been placed according to regulation. I'll say no more except that once Karen, Freddie and I had our own homes, and our own Christmas trees, none of us ever used tinsel.
Me and Karen setting the table. I now have those plates and the ruby glass goblets which I love.
Janet, Fred, Karen, Dorothy
I also still have the silver charm bracelet I am wearing in these pictures. I got it for Christmas 1964. For this Christmas in 1965 I got a small silver bell. The last charm I put on the bracelet was a silver pacifier to commemorate Rosie.
I hope these pictures help you remember some of your favorite Christmas memories.
Rosie was sick last week so this is the first time I have seen her in 2 weeks. She is learning so fast now that 2 weeks makes a huge difference. She has learned so many new things. I could watch her interact with Gus and Meara all day.
Yikes! Gus got scalped!
Gus doing the elephant sound.
Gus draws and Rosie identifies the critter as well as what sound each makes.
Rosie is using a ball of paper to help demonstrate Up and Down. She understands the concept but sometimes up is down in Rosie's world. Which is not such a bad thing.
Next time I see everyone we will have our Skype Christmas. Can't wait!!
I am normally a bit of a news junkie. But since yesterday I've avoided all news channels; I've averted my eyes from the front page of the morning paper. It is simply too horrific, too devastating, too incomprehensible, too much to think about. Someone killed the most innocent of victims in the most innocent of places ... there are no words. And yet I can't keep this out of sight, out of mind. It haunts me. These children who lived just a split second of the lives they deserved, they need to be in our thoughts no matter how painful. Because to push away the terror of what happened would mean that one more time nothing gets done to stop this from happening again, and again. I know this but I have no solutions. Right now all I can do is to not forget.
Reel 6 is the last reel of family slides in existence. It contains an odd assortment of pictures. There are quite a few from 1965, a fair number from 1966 ... and then there are photos from one day in August 1972. I feel completely certain there are no slides to be found for the missing years. Personally speaking, those missing years (1967 - 1971) were pretty significant. I was 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 during those years. I went from Junior High to High School graduation; I could drink legally (18 in those days); I started college; I voted for the first time; I was a hippie, dressed like one most of the time and participated in peace marches some of the time; I had friends (some since childhood and some I met at college orientation -- they were the first people I had ever met from Long Island), I worked my first real job (defined as one that provided a real paper pay check); my hair was long and straight and sometimes I had bangs and other times not; I discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald and I have not stopped reading since ... I had breakfast with Arlo Guthrie! I did stuff and I have no photographic evidence. I know of some (really very few) print photos from that time but not for every one of the missing years. In today's world we take pictures every day. So it's hard to remember (or for the latest generation it is perhaps hard to imagine) that there was a time when an entire year (or 5) of your life would never be captured on film. Then again, in today's world, maybe we would all be better off with a little less photographic evidence.
So here are the first photos from Reel 6. Karen's first teaching job was in Hartford, Connecticut. Here she is with her roommate in April 1965.
These were taken June 27, 1965 at Elizabeth Park in Hartford. Mom, Dad and I were visiting Karen.